Artists Feature: Laura Martinez

by Nisha Btesh August 31, 2018

Artists Feature: Laura Martinez

So in full transparency, I discovered Laura because I really wanted to get 'GRL PWR' tattooed on the back of my bicep. I know. BUT I wanted it to be handwritten in a fine feminine detailed line. I had a vision. Enter Laura Martinez of Fleur Noir Tattoo Parlour. As the Parisian Co-Founder of the female-owned and operated tattoo parlor in Brooklyn New York, Laura went from total stranger to tattoo BAE just like that. Que the buzzing tattoo needle! 

I almost didn't reach out to Laura for this interview, with the fear that if she said no, well there goes my perfect tatt connect. But as you'll soon read Laura brakes all industry related stereotypes. She is sweet and kind - a total girls' girl. I connected with her immediately. Talk about a talented female Artist & Entrepreneur, plus she's an immigrant to boot! If you're already obsessing, take a look at her IG feed (BYE!) and then come back to keep reading and discover how a poster on her bedroom wall took this Product Designer all the way from Paris, France to a multi-lingual tattoo parlor in Brooklyn, New York. 

Who is Laura Martinez? Where are you from? How did you become the woman you are today?

I am Laura Martinez, I am from Paris, France and have been living in New York for 5 years. I became the woman I am today by continuing to follow my dreams. Everything is possible if you believe in it!

What is the message you're sending into the universe with your work? Why do you feel so strongly about said message?

There is space for love and for everybody in the tattooing industry. Either you want to become a Tattoo Artist or to get a tattoo, it is not the intimidating world that we imagine. As a young Tattoo Artist coming from a product design background, tattooing enlightened my journey. I have been around amazing Tattoo Artists that welcomed me so graciously into the community. There was no judgment or mean attitudes from others Artists as I thought there could be. I felt I could finally become who I really wanted to be. I want to know my clients, why I'm tattooing them and what the meaning is behind this moment. I want to be able to help them heal or feel better or happier. 

Tell us a little bit about what drew you to your medium. Did you choose to work with said medium or did it choose you?

Tattooing chose me. I have always been done diverse forms of art, from photography to painting to graphic design. After receiving my master degree as a product designer in France, I visited New York and started to draw a lot. Friends and people around the neighborhood were really into my designs and encouraging me to keep going with it. They would give me opportunities to show my work in their bars and small galleries, but mostly: they would get my drawings tattooed on themselves. And this is where everything started. I never decided one day to become a Tattoo Artist. It all came to me very organically.

Your medium truly fascinates me! How does it feel to have strangers walking this earth carrying your art on their bodies? 

It's amazing! I feel so lucky to know that the day I disappear, I will sort of still be here through my art, in different parts of the world and on people I actually met. It is the most beautiful thing!

Can you tell us a little bit about being the Co-owner of Fleur Noire Tattoo Parlour? What was the process for opening your own tattoo parlor? 

Having a place of my own has always been my dream. As far back as I can remember I never needed to have a big house with a backyard to feel successful and happy, I just wanted to be my own boss and have my own space where I could do the art that I wanted and meet people without having to tell anyone how or when or why I do it.

Well, now that I have it... I do want the big house... haha.
For fleur Noire, we are a few partners and it’s interesting to all to see how we grow by working together. It is not always easy but it is an awesome learning experience. We have a lot of emotions and always have to make sure everyone is happy with the decisions we make even though we don’t have the same styles or backgrounds or personalities. We have now been open for almost 2 years and we went from 4 to 15 people at Fleur Noire. It’s crazy!

I love that every Artist has come from different countries and that the shop became a little international family. This is the part I am the proudest of. We are all immigrants and run the shop. We have so many languages spoken at the shop:  French, Turkish, Russian, English, Spanish, Thai...and so much more! 

What do you want the younger female Artists coming up behind you to know about you, your journey, and the art industry in general?

Trust yourself, be strong, and know that you can become whoever you would like to be. Tattooing is not for everyone and you have to work hard for it, to draw a lot and to be very creative. But more than all, you have to be patient and a good listener.
Being a Tattoo Artist is also being a good Therapist, you have to be prepared to receive a lot of emotions, intensity, a lot of love but also hate sometimes. You really need to be strong and to be able to take your distance on certain situations! Now I feel like there is a big female empowerment movement in tattooing and I am super proud of it so let’s stay being bosses ladies! 


What do you know for sure?

I know nothing.

What are some of the biggest challenges you've faced as a female Artist to date? What are some of the biggest mistakes you've made and how did you overcome them?

My biggest mistakes have been not to be able to say no. No to projects I did not feel fit my style, no to clients that were disrespectful or making me uncomfortable. I always want to make every person happy with their experience with me and their tattoos, and sometimes we even become good friends. But I have learned with time that there are boundaries and as much as it is my passion, I cannot give a tattoo if I do not receive love in return as well. 

How do you stay motivated? What does your daily routine look like?

I really love my work so it’s hard not to be motivated by it! Though somedays I can feel less creative, it’s only if I have been working too much and pushing myself too hard. I try to make sure I have 2 days off tattooing a week and take time for myself to do my favorite simple things: watch my favorite tv shows with breakfast, go on a movie date with my husband, drink margaritas and listen to a lot of reggaeton! I’m telling you, reggaeton is the secret to stay happy and motivated, makes you want to dance right away!


Give us three of your favorite/ most inspiring things right now. Could be a book, a food, a destination, a song, a person, etc.

1. Songs that have been motivating/inspiring me and making me want to be an even stronger woman: “Maneater” by Dary Hall & John Oates and “Careful” by Cardi B.

2. Madagascar, where I stayed for a long time inspired my first tattoo designs and still does now. I use the Malagasy old symbol of protections in my drawings as little magic protectors for the person who gets it. Then Vietnam and Brazil were magical to visit and definitely inspired my birds and flowers design.

3. My love for my husband is one of the things that inspires me the most.  He has always believed in me and told me one-day “Girl you should be a Tattoo Artist”. And look here I am now! I want him to be proud of me and it pushes me to keep doing my best.

What are your future plans for your work? Where do you see yourself going 1,3,5 years from now and how do you plan to get there?

I want to keep exploring tattooing as far as it can take me! And work on different art projects with my designs, do more product design again, jewelry, and fashion... I feel like tattooing is getting everywhere now which makes me excited to mix it with a lot of others techniques and supports!


What's the best advice you've ever been given?

Its kind of silly to say but I had a poster on my bedroom wall as a teenager in France, it was the photo of an island and it said in English “The choices you make, not the chances you take, determine your destiny.” I always promised myself I will travel the world and go see this island and live this way. Now that I am older, I can actually say that this poster was my best advice ever and took me where I am today.
To learn more about Laura and her work please visit www.fleurnoiretattoo.com



Nisha Btesh
Nisha Btesh

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